South Bend, Indiana, Mayor and 2020 White House hopeful Pete Buttigieg said Friday that black voter suppression made his life “worse,” suggesting it was one of the factors behind President Donald Trump’s election victory in 2016.
Buttigieg joined fellow presidential candidates Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) at the National Urban League’s annual conference in Indianapolis on Friday, where the 37-year-old lashed out at President Trump and touted his so-called Douglass Plan, aimed at combating what he calls institutional racism in the criminal justice system.
“I think for too long we have believed that we were on a path where systemic racism was going to take care of itself in this country,” the South Bend mayor stated, according to the Indy Star. “I’m going to be speaking about these issues not only with mostly black audiences, but with mostly white audiences.”
“Suppressing the black vote made my life worse, because I have to live under this president,” he added.
Buttigieg then accused President Trump of being racist, despite his long-standing commitment to helping the African-American community and other minority groups dating back to his days as a real estate developer in the 1980s.
“My generation saw this country elect its first black president and then turn around and elect a racist to the White House — and we ought to call that what it is,” said Buttigieg.
Despite Buttigieg’s best efforts to court the African-American community, the South Bend mayor is polling at zero percent with the group.
“Pete has a black problem. I don’t know of one black person out of Indiana that supports him,” Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH) told the Daily Beast last month. In another interview conducted by the media outlet, an unnamed “prominent black leader” said that when he pressed Buttigieg on which black South Bend activists support him, the mayor was unable to name anyone.
Buttigieg has faced intense scrutiny back home last month over his handling of a police shooting of Eric Logan, a black man.